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Hines Peak, Chief Peak

21 November 1992

By: Alan Coles


Leaders: Alan Coles, Frank Goodykoontz

We had planned to do the nice long 22 mile route up Sisar Cyn but an apparent lack of interest for would be death marchers led to a change in plans. Instead, Frank and I phoned reservations for permits to drive the road up to the wilderness boundary.

We met 8 am at the Rose Valley turnoff north of Ojai. Frank got his permit at the ranger station in Ojai but mine was not there. Anyway, we had only 3 participants, Diane Dunbar, Jean Hermansen and John Radalj which along with the 2 leaders easily fitted inside of Franks 4-Runner.

Off we went on a cool, almost cold day with some high clouds of an approaching front. We first easily climbed Chief and had excellent views out towards the Channel Islands, all of which were clearly visible. Next we drove up to the Sespe Wilderness Boundary and hiked the 2 1/2 miles to the end of the old road (now a trail) and then up the precarious knife-edge to the summit. Again the view was stunning as we looked over the heart of the wilderness which at 320,000 is the largest in Southern California. The fantastic bluffs of the Topatopa Ridge drop precipitously down to Sespe Creek which is flanked by the majestic pine covered mountains to the north. Maple trees along the canyon bottoms were at the peak of autumn color. Most impressive and perhaps the most envied feature of this region is the solitude one can savor so close to a major city. The signs of man are few and far between even from this 6,700' summit.

We huddled behind some rocks trying in vain to escape the cold wind. After lunch, we descended the same way and I noticed that some work had been done on the old Last Chance Trail which follows the North Fork of Santa Paula Creek. The Forest Service is planning to rebuild this trail which would make an excellent route for doing this peak as well as for doing backpacks into the wilderness.

On the way back we took a detour over the top of Topatopa Bluff which is quite impressive. We got back to the car around 4:30 and drove out with the sun setting nicely over the ocean.

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